House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway says that the government should not be in the business of telling Americans what to eat and drink. Conaway has expressed concern about discriminatory policy proposals to give the federal government the power to dictate what Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients are allowed to purchase.

We agree. Families using SNAP benefits are no different from anyone else when it comes to what they put in their grocery carts. Banning these struggling families from going down certain aisles in the grocery store wrongly stigmatizes people in need and strips them of the basic freedom to make personal decisions for their families. Americans should be free to shop for groceries without government intervention, regardless of income level.

What’s more, allowing our government to dictate what people can put in their grocery carts puts us on a slippery slope of government intrusion into other personal family decisions. Never before have we allowed the federal government to draw up a list of “good foods” and “bad foods,” and for good reason – it would create a food code more complicated and arbitrary than the tax code.

The bottom line is families who have fallen on tough times should not be forced to shop differently in grocery stores than every other American because of their hardship.